Palm Beach County Adds Nearly 20,000 Jobs Over the Year; July Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.5 Percent From 5.3 Percent Year Ago

CareerSource Palm Beach County announced today that the county’s 4.5 percent unemployment rate for July 2017 dropped below the year-ago rate of 5.3 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate is 4.3 percent and the national rate is 4.6 percent, all numbers not seasonally adjusted, according to reports released today by CareerSource Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

“Even in the traditionally slower summer season, the job market remains strong. The county gained 19,700 new jobs over the year – a strong 3.3 percent increase vs. 2.8 percent for the state – and there were 17,848 available advertised jobs in July,” said Steve Craig, president and chief executive officer of CareerSource Palm Beach County, the nonprofit organization chartered by the state to lead workforce development in Palm Beach County.

Mr. Craig also noted that the tri-county area is leading the nation in wage and salary growth among metropolitan regions, according to the latest report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (the bureau defines the tri-county area as Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties).

“Wages and salaries rose 3.9 percent in our region – the highest of any metropolitan area – and higher than the national wage growth of 2.4 percent,” he said.

Another encouraging sign is an increase in the county’s labor force. The labor force in July rose to 729,247, an increase of 2.9 percent over the year. Besides population growth, this indicates that so-called “discouraged workers” are returning to the workforce. Discouraged workers are those who were no longer actively seeking employment after long-term unemployment.

Mr. Craig added that these factors indicate a very competitive talent market for employers.

Palm Beach County’s monthly unemployment rate ranged between 3.9 and 5.3 percent over the past 12 months, primarily reflecting seasonal fluctuations. This compares favorably with state and national levels, and is about one-third of what it was at the 11.6 percent peak unemployment rate of the Great Recession in summer 2010.

Job growth by industry sector: On a percentage basis, job gains in July were led by the construction industry with 9.2 percent over-the-year job growth, higher than 7.7 percent statewide, reflecting a very competitive market for this industry sector. The number of jobs in five sectors – construction, leisure/hospitality, professional/business services, education/health services, and government – grew faster than statewide over the year.

By the numbers, over-the-year job gains in Palm Beach County were in leisure/hospitality (+6,100 jobs); education/health services (+5,300 jobs); professional/business services (+3,700 jobs); construction (+3,200 jobs); government (+1,400 jobs); other services (+1,100 jobs); and trade/transportation/utilities (+500 jobs). The manufacturing and information sectors were unchanged. Financial activities was the only sector that lost jobs over the year (-1,600 jobs).

Whatever career you would like to pursue, the staff at CareerSource offers classes and facilities for job search, grants for job skills training for those who qualify, career development and consulting. During the past two program years, CareerSource Palm Beach County assisted nearly 45,000 residents find employment ranging from entry level to executive suite, with salaries from these jobs creating $860 million in annual average wages.

Services for employers: CareerSource provides a comprehensive package of services to help businesses compete in today’s challenging marketplace. CareerSource absorbs the cost of most of these services including recruitment, assessments and referrals of qualified job candidates; space and staff assistance for screening/interviewing candidates; and grants for training employees.

Services for career seekers: CareerSource is committed to help provide Palm Beach County residents with the opportunity to get a great job and build a career. On average, 7,500 visitors each month receive help from specialized services at two career centers:

— Central Career Center-3400 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33406; (561) 340-1060
— West Career Center-1085 S. Main Street, Belle Glade, FL 33430; (561) 829-2040

The centers offer classes and facilities for job search, career development and consulting; and grants for job skills training – all at no cost for career seekers. Schedules of workshops and employer hiring events are posted at

Next monthly employment reports for Florida and Palm Beach County: State and local employment reports for August 2017 are scheduled for release on Sept. 15.